It’s very common for adult children to struggle with balancing their elderly parent’s independence with their growing need for caregiving. While parents should be able to retain the dignity and self-sufficiency they’ve had their entire lives, the effects of aging often lead to them needing assistance with some of the basic daily tasks. The effort to manage that balance often leads to arguments between aging parents and their adult children.
Family caregivers can become very frustrated as they see their elderly relatives struggle to accomplish daily tasks or make unwise decisions. It’s even more difficult when they won’t listen to suggestions about how to make their life easier or that it may be time to get some help that they really need. It’s very hard for an adult child to face such tough conversations when seniors are being stubborn about the state of their care.
Why Some Seniors are Stubborn.
When an elderly parent refuses to listen to their adult children about care, it may just seem like they are being grumpy. However, much of the time they are holding on to emotional and physical things that are hard to let go of. They may feel as if getting help means they will lose their independence or that they are finally too “old” to be worth anything. They may have too much pride so they won’t admit they might need help. They may feel depressed, worried and sad that they are no longer the people they once were.
Any or all of these feelings may be the cause of their refusal to listen to their family caregivers. Other issues such as worrying about finances, lack of control over caregivers, and even fear of the unknown may be causing resistance to face the facts. Instead of looking at the situation and their need for care from a logical or accurate perspective, they are making emotional decisions and acting out of fear and worry.
Set the Stage.
Adult children can prepare for important conversations with their elderly parents in several ways, so that the outcomes may be more favorable. They should choose a time when both parties are not depressed, stressed, or in a hurry. The topics should be important ones, not nit-picking issues that don’t matter much. The adult child should have information at hand regarding the issues, whether it’s about home care, medication, living arrangements or something else.
During the Conversation.
When the caregiver and the elderly adult are having the important conversation, they should use “I” statements to best convey their feelings. Of course, they should avoid being critical and judgmental. It’s never helpful to nag, push, or threaten the other person. Both sides should stay calm and respectful so that they may arrive at a solution. It’s also OK for the discussion to continue another time. Most major life decisions aren’t made in just one talk.
When it comes to issues of health and wellness, many seniors are in denial about when they might actually need some outside help. Loving family caregivers may have to have some tough conversations, but it will be worth it when they finally get their stubborn seniors to listen.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable caregiver services in Lawrenceville, GA and the surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.